A new fee, dubbed the 'blockbuster tax', has been introduced by cinema chain Odeon. It charges movie-goers extra to watch the latest releases, with the value of the charge varying according to what film you choose to watch. 

It's currently £2 more expensive to see the new Transformers flick than other movies in the chain, while War of the Planet of the Apes costs £1.50 more and an extra quid is added on for Despicable Me 3.  

Viewers are already expected to spend more on peak-time performances, 3D viewings and glasses, not to mention food and drink.

Luckily, there are a few savvy ways to help you save on your next cinema trip. 

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Get two tickets for the price of one

Taking over from the hugely popular Orange Wednesdays, Meerkat Movies lets you buy two cinema tickets for the price of one at Odeon.

If you buy insurance, switch energy or take out a loan through price comparison site comparethemarket.com, you'll get a code which allows you to purchase two for one cinema tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a whole year. 

You can buy advance tickets in advance at the cinema or online. Just enter your voucher code in the 'your order' step of booking to apply the discount or show the cashier your code at the cinema.

Bag a family deal

Vue cinemas offers a Family Ticket for up to four where each person pays a child’s price for a ticket. You just need to ensure your group contains at least two children aged 12 or under.

Odeon’s Family Ticket also allows you to get tickets for the whole family at child’s prices. Two children and two adults are eligible for the offer as well as one adult and three children.

As with most of these offers, you’ll have to pay extra for 3D films.

Go off-peak on weekdays

If you can, going to the cinema in off-peak times (weekdays before 5pm) will slash pounds off your ticket price. Predictably, evenings and weekends cost the most.

Empire Cinemas also offer cheap tickets on a Tuesday from £4.25 each as part of its Sav£rday Tuesday deal. 

The offer excludes Bank Holidays, Impact, Luxury and VIP seating, opera, 3D and special presentations. The chain’s Leicester Square venue is also exempt from the offer. 

Vue has Super Days at most of its cinemas, which offers up to a third off all day on a Tuesday or a Monday. You need to sign up to get the discount

Senior tickets

Most cinemas offer discounted tickets for seniors.

A couple of chains also run senior screenings and throw in a free hot drink and biscuit for you to enjoy while you watch the film.

Vue has the Seniors Cinema Club, Empire has Empire Seniors on Wednesday mornings and Odeon has Silver Cinema with tickets from £3 (check your local listings).

Discount tickets and membership schemes

Cineworld offers an Unlimited card which gets you access to as many movies as you like from £17.40 a month. This is a great deal if you watch several films each month and have a local Cineworld.

The Odeon Premiere Club allows you to earn 10 points for every £1 you spend in the cinema. These points can then be spent on tickets, food or drink. There are also regular points offers and special members' discounts. The club does cost to join, with membership options starting from £1.99, but you get some free points to start you off when you sign up. 

Odeon has Odeon Limitless, which offers cinema goers the chance to see any film they want, as often as they want to in Odeon cinemas across the UK and Ireland. The launch of this new card offers film fans the opportunity to visit Odeon cinemas as many times as they like for a monthly fee of £17.99 in almost all cinemas, and a monthly fee of £19.99 for central London cinemas.

Membership of Picturehouse cinemas will give you four free tickets, up to £2 off tickets for a year, 10% off food and drink at the cinema, priority booking and a host of other discounts at restaurants and cafes such as Strada and GBK.

Membership costs between £20 and £95. What’s more, you’ll get three months free if you renew by direct debit.

Showcase has the Insider Club, which offers £6.50 (£8.50 for 3D films) tickets on Sundays after 7pm, and all day Mondays and Tuesdays. You'll also get money off food and drink and the chance to win tickets to free preview screenings.

Vue regularly has offers for new releases. Go to its latest offers page for more information.

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Free preview screenings

Free tickets are often given away to promote new films. However only selected titles are previewed so you’ll need to sign up to specific sites to get hold of screening codes as they are released.

Try Show Film First, the Total Film Club and Disney Screenings. The Free Movies UK forum is also worth registering for, as members share details of the latest free screenings.